Mapleton woman is world renowned romance novelist

There is a world renowned author in our midst who also doubles as a world renowned photographer – who also doubles (well, triples?) as a contemporary dancer, pianist, art historian, choreographer, culinary artist and English professor. Did we mention she is a wife and mother to three children?

Nichole Van of Mapleton is a woman of nearly all trades, and these days, she is spending time writing historical wholesome romance novels that have been critically acclaimed, receiving thousands of positive reviews. Her novel, “Seeing Miss Heartstone” was a Whitney Award Winner for Best Historical Romance 2018, and “Suffering the Scot” was a Whitney award finalist in 2019 for the same award. 

According to Van, her path to become a novelist was just one of those things that happened as a result of life, and of the need to try new things. 

“My mom always jokes that I’m like a person in search of a career,” she said. “I could change my career path every 10 years. I started out in English and actually taught at the Y (BYU) for about 10 years in their English Department. Then I picked up a camera and realized that I absolutely loved it. By about 2007, I had to make a decision if I was going to continue teaching at the Y or if I just wanted to do photography full time and it just really exploded from there. I won several really big international awards for my family portrait wedding photography, and I did that for about 10 years, also touring the world teaching photography workshops.”

By 2012, things were going really well for Van, and she suspected she had finally found her niche. That year, however, tragedy struck her family of origin, and her younger brother, Kurt Evans died in a car accident. Van said that his passing sparked the writer in her that had been there all along.

“Kurt is just younger than me, and he was killed in a car accident in 2012 and it was just devastating to all of us,” she said. “I think I just kind of put writing on the back burner because I was so focused on photography. A big part of  my healing process and grieving my brother’s death was taking up a pen again and actually starting to write. That led to my first novel.”

Van’s first novel was a book titled “Intertwine,” that was published in 2014 which is about a woman who travels to England to uncover the history of a man in a picture she found in an old locket. 

Much like the character in that first novel, Van also loves to travel and uncover hidden gems in places she’s only ever heard of. She said that this dream of hers came to fruition in 2016 when she and her husband talked about what kind of life they wanted to provide for their children. 

“In 2016, my husband and I asked ourselves the question, ‘What do you want out of life and what memories do you want to have?’ and we both wanted memories of living abroad with our kids,” she recalled. “Long story short, we ended up in Scotland of all places, and it was phenomenal”

Van said she loved it in Scotland so much that she decided that she would use it as the backdrop for many of her novels. 

“My last two series have been Scottish Historical Romance because, you know, living in Scotland, what better way to give an homage to my adopted country than to write romance books about it?” she said. “So, that’s what I have been writing and it’s just been kind of a wild ride all the way around.”

Van and her family lived in Scotland for six years before family needs brought them back to Utah a year ago. Van said that she misses Scotland and she’s happy to be closer to family. She said she brought Scotland home with her, and she wants to continue to showcase her love of that country in her writing. 

To date, Van has written 23 novels that can be found on her website,

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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